No, dandruff is not contagious as it appears to have a variety of triggers ranging from stress, Malassezia yeast, and other factors. Worried that your white, flaky scalp could be contagious? Don’t be. Dandruff, scientifically referred to as seborrheic dermatitis, is an extremely common condition but can’t be spread from one person to another.

The cause of dandruff is believed to be an overabundance or sensitivity to Malassezia yeast, something that is already present on almost every single human on this planet. Therefore, the dry, red, itchy, and flaky skin is actually more of an allergic response to a fungus that naturally grows along your scalp versus something that can be caught. So, there’s no need to flake out on your dinner date or scratch plans with your friends over a dandruff flare-up.

What causes dandruff

If you really want to get to the root of your itchy scalp, you should understand what can cause an onset of dandruff. While the medical and scientific community haven’t come to a consensus on exactly what causes this skin condition, most doctors agree that the likely cause is an abnormal amount of Malassezia yeast along with a sensitivity to its presence. There are also other things that might trigger a person’s sensitized response to this fungus.

Common triggers for dandruff include:

  • Stress, depression, and other severe mood or hormonal changes
  • Having certain medical conditions, such as compromised immune systems
  • Wearing itchy materials, such as a wool hat
  • Exposure to cold, dry weather
  • Having a build-up of hair products
  • Irritation to shampoos or other products

The best way to determine your personal triggers is to record outbreaks and track common habits or actions that may have led up to it.

Treating dandruff

While dandruff can’t be spread to others and isn’t much more than an uncomfortable condition, it can be embarrassing and frustrating for the person dealing with it. There is no cure for dandruff yet, but avoiding triggers, following a simple and effective routine, and using a specialized shampoo for treating dandruff can help to keep symptoms at bay (and your black shirts flake-free).

One ingredient to look for in dandruff shampoo is pyrithione zinc. This zinc complex is a safe and effective antifungal and antibacterial agent that has been used for more than 50 years to neutralizes the Malassezia that is believed to cause symptoms of dandruff.

However, there is more than pyrithione zinc that goes into a dandruff shampoo. For those who are concerned about sensitivities and irritations to harsh ingredients, or just simply want a more natural shampoo that can still help with symptoms of dandruff, there is Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo. It is comprised of 95% natural plant-based ingredients and is free of things such as dyes, fragrances, parabens, alcohol, and other skin irritants commonly found in most shampoos and body washes. Instead, it utilizes the natural soothing properties of licorice root extract and provitamin B5 to moisturize and calm skin while the active pyrithione zinc works to fend off Malassezia yeast.

This shampoo was originally formulated as the first dandruff product designed for children of all ages. However, many adults also appreciate the benefits of using a more natural hair product to manage their dandruff condition.

What to do about dandruff or “cradle cap” in children

When dandruff is present in babies and children, it is often a sign of seborrheic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as “cradle cap.” Symptoms of “cradle cap” in babies include scaly patches of yellow, cracking skin that reaches across the scalp to the eyebrows, like a cap. It can also be found along the diaper area, the face and neck, or in moist folds of skins, such as the back of the knees or elbows.

“Cradle cap” is extremely common in young children, with more than 40% of children experiencing symptoms before the age of 6.

Despite the symptoms of “cradle cap” looking quite uncomfortable, it usually isn’t itchy or painful for the baby. It also isn’t contagious and can’t be spread to parents, siblings, or anyone else who holds or touches your child. Still, managing or eliminating the symptoms can reduce the chances of further complications, and stop future outbreaks.

While adults have many options when looking for a shampoo and body wash for dandruff, it can be much harder to find a safe and effective medicated dandruff shampoo designed for children. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo contains the main Malassezia-fighting ingredient, pyrithione zinc, but is free of other things that could be harmful to your child, such as parabens, sulfates, dyes, synthetic fragrances, and alcohols—making it the only medicated shampoo formulated for children of all ages.

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